Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most definitely heard about the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, based on Jay Asher’s best-selling novel released in 2007. The series was produced by Selena Gomez and the actors and actresses who portrayed these characters were very impressive in such challenging and emotionally demanding roles. The show has been out for a little more than three weeks, and people have either binge-watched the show in a day or are just finishing it up, and critics are both praising and burying the portrayal of the book. But I’m not here to review it (although my personal opinion is that it was very well done for something so raw, real, and hard to watch). I’m here to talk about this idiotic new thing somebody came up that involves “*insert random reason here*, welcome to your tape.”
This is NOT okay. It is absolutely not okay to make a mockery out of something so heart-breaking and tragic, and that is just what this tagline is doing. I’ve seen it many times over the last few weeks all over social media, and if you understand what it means, shame on you. If you don’t realize how bad it seems, then hopefully this can educate you and allow to make a choice to keep using it or not based on facts.
One of the ones that really stuck out to me and got me angry was a post I saw on Twitter last week. It read:
Friend: *eats the last chicken nugget*
Me: Welcome to your tape.
If someone can explain to me how in the world it is acceptable to say that, then I am all ears, but I bet you can’t. You cannot justify making self-harm and depression the equivalent of not getting what you want, especially if it is as stupid as a chicken nugget. I’ve seen others, such as teachers giving bad grades (that were deserved), someone taking the last slice of pizza, sitting in the wrong seat, and someone declining sex, among many others, and it makes me sick to see that our society has come to this.
Suicide is NOT a joke by any means, and 13 Reasons Why has made people aware and has helped people (which I have heard from people or through people that is truly has saved lives) as a book over the last ten years. The whole point of this Netflix series is to reach people who don’t want to read the book or did not know about the book or any other reason. It is to reach people and help them. It is to get people to talk about things that truly do happen every day, just as they did in the thirteen episodes. Hannah chose tapes instead of note. She could’ve just as easily wrote thirteen notes, then what? Would the punch line be “welcome to your note?” Each tape that Hannah Baker made for the most part had a substantial, large reason and impact, and it showed just how big of an impact something can have on someone’s life that we don’t even realize. It is meant to be an eye-opener and even a safety net.
But posting this “welcome to your tape” bull is a mockery. Just imagine if someone who truly is struggling with suicidal thoughts or self-harm watched a series or read a book that gave them hope, and then they see things like this. Where do you think that hope will go? No guesses? It’ll go out the window, and they may think their reasons are just as stupid as a chicken nugget. And they are not. No reason is stupid when it comes to depression and suicidal thoughts, and those people should not be made fools of or be afraid to reach out for help, help that could have saved Hannah.
So stop. Stop posting these sickening messages on social media, open your eyes, and grow up. Suicide is real, and it is not going to go away by people making a mockery of it.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255